London Film Festival 2017’s most pretentious previews

Cate Blanchett’s multiple manifestos, an art house Jungle Book and a moonwalking Islamist are on their way to LFF

The BFI London Film Festival (LFF) returns next month (October 4-15) , with star billing going to the likes of Breathe (directed by Andy Serkis, starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy), Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and new films by Lynne Ramsay, Richard Linklater and Guillermo del Toro. We’ve already done our run down of 10 LFF films to book ahead for, and below is a sneak preview of some of the movies at the artier end of the festival’s spectrum, featuring snippets from the programme…

The Pure Necessity

‘A hypnotic and lyrical reworking of The Jungle Book, that removes its anthropomorphism and its human characters to give the animals back their dignity. The artist redrew all the animated animals and deconstructed the narrative arc to render it eventless, thus giving the impression of watching the animals in their natural surroundings and unaware of any human presence. The effect is one of rekindling a fond memory of childhood, but with the shades of commercial and cultural exploitation removed.’

Arcadia

‘A dense poetic essay of wonder, hope, horror and decay – drawing on inspiration from The Wicker Man to Winstanley… We follow an unnamed protagonist from the future as she travels through the metaphorical ‘seasons’… (This) captivating film essay was conceived before Brexit, but it’s impossible not to see the film through the prism of it.’

Lek and the Dogs

Lek and the Dogs

‘Combining science fiction, fairytale and archive, this story of a lost boy carries reminiscences of Tarkovsky. Based on the play by Hattie Naylor, Lek leaves his parents for a life with dogs. An enfant sauvage, he grows into society with emotional connections and values at odds with the world.’

Manifesto

‘Cate Blanchett is in full-on chameleon mode, playing 13 different characters in this energetic tribute to artistic troublemakers. In this thrilling history of 20th century ideas, Blanchett narrates the tenets of movements including modernism, futurism, communism and Dogme 95… In one scene, a housewife’s evening prayer becomes Claes Oldenburg’s I Am for an Art, while in a humorous later segment, Blanchett takes dual roles as newsreader and weather reporter to discuss conceptual art.’

Sheikh Jackson

‘Sheikh Jackson follows a hardline Islamist preacher who yearns to moonwalk again after the death of singer Michael Jackson.’

A sad Baloo in The Pure Necessity

Spite Your Face

‘A captivating baroque reworking of Pinocchio that exposes modern greed through phallic mockery.’

Life Imitation

‘A virtual futuristic vison of a dark new world mediated through gaming, chatrooms and sexting… Structured through a dexterous mix of verité footage of young life in China, mobile phone screens and the ultra-violence of Grand Theft Auto that represents American life… Strange and compelling, the film creates an almost post-human identity, one that cannot exist outside the digital.’

Dead the Ends

‘A collage, narrative, essay film hybrid, Dead the Ends, plunders some fifty years of cinema – including dystopian sci-fi – and uses emojis and gifs as ways of exploring the undercurrents of historical and current visual language, as well as present entrenched, systemic inequality… The piece feels part-situationist, part-Borgesian. It asks, in richly creative fashion, how did we get here?’


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